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Trekkie asked What are the most used electronic components?
I have recently been getting more and more into hobby electronics. I believe that I would one day like to make a career out of this. There is an electronics surplus store that I get components from but unfortunately it is a 2 hour drive away. At this place the components are very cheap, like pennies for 10, and there are just so many shelves full of trays with what looks like everything I could ever want. My questions is, what components are the most used? What should I stock up on? What ranges of Capacitors, Resistors, Diodes, and Inductors would I be using the most starting out in electronics? Are there any other components I should get while am at it? ICs, Transistors, Relays, Motors, etc? I want to get into Radio and Robotics once I get a grasp on the basics.
And got the following answer:
I’m not going to pretend to be some expert in all things electronic. I’m just a ME with strong interest in electronics and Control Systems. With this said up front I can tell you which components I’ve used the most of in my projects. Just about any robot has some kind of digital controller. Arduino is popular with hobbyists and students and is very accessible (easy to program). Since a digital controller is likely the center of anything controlled it’s a good starting point for a component list. OP-Amps: These will be used for isolation (voltage followers), amplification of signals, summing junctions, analogue PID, the list can go on and on. So, I’ve used a tone of op-amps. Usually any run-of-the-mill type was ok. LM741 is very common and would likely be OK for most of the tasks I’ve listed. If you get into RF or very small signal amplification or need a large power output then you would need to get a op-amp that’s designed for the task. Resistors: I have used more 1k, 5k and 10k, than any other type. I think it would be a good idea to get a kit. Then you can replace them as you use them and will get an idea what you need the most of for your projects. I say this because I did not have to use a 5k and 10k for some amplification circuit, its the ratios that mattered, I could have done the same job with a 500 and 1k (for example). Maybe somebody else will shed more light on this one. The 5k and 10k potentiometer has also found extensive use in my projects. Diodes: High-speed signal diodes: I use a bunch of these. They are good for buck/boost converters, voltage clampers, fly-back diodes for small DC motors and relays. Schottky diode: Good for voltage reference. Not used nearly as much as the signal diodes, but when you need one and don’t have one it sucks! They come in different voltage ratings and I’m not sure which is the most popular. Rectifiers: Any time you build a power supply you’ll need one of these. I like the monolithic bridge rectifiers over 4 individual ones. Choose rating to match need. Capacitors: This one really depends on your project. Signal filtering (high pass, low pass, band pass, notch, etc.) depend on the combination of capacitor and resistor for the target frequency. RF projects will use very small caps, where a filter for 1hz would use big one. For sure though, if you are making a power supply you will need something around 500-2500uF tank capacitor. So, it’s always good to have a few big electrolytics lying around. A grab bag of random ones should be good for your component box. Inductors: OK, I found getting an assortment of toroids to be the most useful. It’s a bit of a pain to wind your own, but it’s fun too. Used these in a boost converter. Also good for filters. Motors: Stepper motors are the most popular for robotics since you can precisely move it by sending the motor a pulse train. DC motors are good too. You will choose a motor to suit your needs, so I am not recommending anything today. Relays: Same as the motors, project specific. My last project used high-speed pneumatic solenoid valves. Solenoids and relays have at least one thing in common. Induction kicks. So, you use up diodes with these. MOSFET/ Transistors Used extensively to power relays, solenoids, stepper motors, DC Motors, etc.. Next to the op-amp, the MOSFET and Transistor is one of the most used items I have dealt with. I tend to prefer MOSFET over transistor for switching. Still, get a handful of PNP and NPN transistors; they are very very usefully even if I don’t used them when I could (or perhaps should). So, that’s about it for the most common components I’ve used. My favorite online vendors are; http://www.digikey.com/ http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/StoreCatalogDisplay?storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&langId=-1 http://www.automationdirect.com/adc/Home/Home One last thought.. When it comes to fabricating PC boards, you will need wire gauge drill bits. They break very easily so stock up on them. Also, drawing the traces by hand can be a bear. If you have the money invest in a UV litho setup. If not, don’t waste money on overpriced etch resist pens. A paint pen from a craft store will work better and cost less. Books I've use often: http://www.amazon.com/Art-Electronics-Paul-Horowitz/dp/0521370957 http://www.amazon.com/Feedback-Control-Dynamic-Systems-Edition/dp/0136019692/ref=pd_sim_b_24 http://www.amazon.com/Control-Systems-Engineering-Norman-Nise/dp/0470547561/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366987405&sr=1-8&keywords=modern+control+systems
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